The Pie
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The Pie


A Poem for the Self-Assured Reforming Herd

Maybe it’s more for the wonderers, like the Middlers and FiDdLers

One of the books I “read” last week (listened to), was encouraging all of us to bravely and boldly pick up our cause and make a name for ourselves. Significance rearing its fashionably narcissistic head again, mostly.

The next was a brand new book about the brain, metacognition, and some emerging frameworks for understanding how consciousness even happens. I’ve said I’ve been expecting this book for several years. I think it’s an important, though nuanced, reset for many aspects of personal, political, and ethical thought. The reset is in the Why’s and How’s of our values or heuristics, and yes, that can affect the What’s.

It strikes me as an unfortunate irony that the decade that’s brought the biggest leaps in understanding thinking/feeling has also brought the most volatile and divisive social “debates”. Those debates are mostly from residual philosophical battles we were recruited into, through politics, before modern cognitive science.

It’s not that cognitive science, or any science, has “all the answers”, but it does provide new frameworks for our conclusions and motivations.

I guess that’s why I wrote this poem, another of the Cursory Rhymes for Our Curious Times. “Stand by” is a key theme, not that I think many who are embroiled in all this would. I’m referring to a sense that we’ll see our contexts, problems, and solutions differently as we re-assimilate new and old social issues with recent cognitive science.

And when I use “soil” in the poem, I’m referring to all of those interconnected complex systems from brains to literal soil. There’s also a little jab at relying on the ivory towers, like I’ve done before, and I won’t take the time to explain all that here. I hope it resonates — in a good way.

I fear the rev…olution…ary,
the ant whose time has come,
the morphing nascent lumin…ary
from which we dumb learn from.

Drawn by “love” you hold your lance,
and fight the foe in your faux stance,
avenger of the herd you love.
The romance of the “voice above”…

It called you in your anti mind,
you “soldier of the soil.”
You didn’t know what we’d all find,
or care to search — that’s toil.

You didn’t care to question “you”,
or wonder on your quest,
what wove “your truth” or point of view.
You guessed just like the rest.

But rest your lance, you lazy ant
and look up in the sky.
The voice you heard had been a chant
from balconies on high.

And we’ve just learned the soils, once spurned,
hold more than lofty towers have earned
in terms of under…standing Why.

So take a chance and rest your lance,
please pause the chants, in peace.
Stand by.

Trying to understand consciousness might seem a little detached from the day-to-day struggles, even philosophical ones, even political ones, but especially the ones related to things like pleasure, pain, hunger, meaning, truth, and justice. I don’t think it is. I think it leads to other important resets in our thinking.

Like the other post-2001 brain wave of books on the subject of metacognition and neuroscience, this new book Being You, will probably be co-opted for political persuasion and personal rationalizing. It’s been sad to watch cognitive science get reduced to proving the Left is wrong or the Right is wrong with, “As neuroscientist _________ says…”

Yes, I know...




7th Pie Theory from Bug Stu and Allie Space-Owl. There are six pies represented in the American Economic Tray, and we need a 7th. It leads to a way funner way than the fray we have today — per Stu and Allie. And so long Postmodernism. And hopefully, so long Stralfs.

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T.J. Storey

T.J. Storey

Former teacher, Jeanne’s husband, Brandon’s and Elyse’s dad. No guru/no woo woo. Fan of how-things-work and what it means for our kids, theirs, theirs,…

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